#FashionForward Workshops: Portfolio Advice

Careers + Advice
As part of this week’s #FashionForward workshops sponsored by Hackney Council, FAD’s Joanne Matthews offers up ten key tips for putting together a portfolio.

When it comes to applying for university, your portfolio should be an insight into how you think and how you work.

1. Show a variety of work

Think of your portfolio as your greatest hits album. It should reflect all the different things you can do creatively. Drawing is really important. You don’t have to be the next Leonardo da Vinci, but you need to show you can draw. Include a good cross-section of other disciplines and techniques you have worked with such as photography, painting, printmaking and ceramics for example.

2. Get extracurricular

Don’t rule out creative things you have done outside college or school, especially if it’s involved team work. Perhaps you have worked on murals, or costumes for a play. It’s all relevant and shows you are motivated to do extra things outside your studies.

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3. Consider the layout

Be creative, make sure it is in an order that is coherent and tells a strong visual story. The first page is really important. Like the cover of a book, it’s a chance to pull your audience in. Equally the last page should pack a punch. Look at graphics and art books for inspiration on layout. Be consistent, mount everything on the same paper, size and colour.

4. Think of who is looking at your portfolio

Keep edges straight and the layout nice and clean. It’s really annoying when loads of bits fall out. Make sure it is physically easy to look through, not too big and heavy. Keep glittery and charcoal pieces in a protective wallet so the interviewer’s hands don’t get dirty.

5. 3D objects

If you have 3D objects, garments, sculptures etc, it’s much better to include really good photography visuals in your portfolio, rather than folding things up and trying to squeeze them in.

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6. Edit, Edit, Edit!

A good portfolio should be well edited. You don’t need to put your work in chronological order. Be selective. Choose content that tells the strongest story and represents your identity as a creative person.

7. Labelling

Make sure your portfolio is clearly labelled on the outside with your name, but don’t feel like you need to label every page inside the portfolio with what it is. The only exception is if you are not going to be with the interviewer when they look at your portfolio. In that instance you could include neat, typed captions giving more information about particular projects or collaborations that need greater explanation.

8. Be prepared to talk about your work

Be prepared to talk and answer questions about the pieces in your portfolio. Research and be knowledgeable about any artists or designers which have inspired you.

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9. Listen to advice

Listen to the advice of your college tutors, any industry people you know and outside organisations like FAD. If they are recommending you include things it is for a reason, but at the same time don’t be afraid to question why. Ultimately your portfolio needs to reflect you as a creative individual so you have to be happy and believe in what it contains.

10. Be fluid

Your portfolio is not a static thing. Like you it will evolve over time. Be prepared to tweek and change it according to who you are applying to. Make sure to read the requirements of each individual university before submitting your portfolio.

Did you find this blog post useful? Need more support with your next step after college?

FAD will be holding another free #FashionForward careers workshop for 16-21 year olds in Covent Garden on Wednesday 12th & Thursday 13th November. Email joanne@fad.org.uk to secure your free place now.

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